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Malhamdale Wills

Here you can find information about how and where to find wills left by Malhamdale residents.

You will also find lists of all the wills known to be held in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) and Death Duty Registers collections, both of which are available online from the National Archives Documents Online External Website logo website.

Our website also contains an Index to Malhamdale Wills Proved at York (1389-1688) containing over 350 entries, and you should also take a look at our Wills for Family History page.

Probate Records (Wills and Administrations) from 1858 - present

The complicated network of probate courts run by the Church was replaced by a civil probate registry system in 1858. Like the registers of births, marriages and deaths, indexes have been created and copies of these indexes are available at the Public Record Office, the Family Record Centre and many record offices.
Probate record indexes for probate granted after January 1858 in England and Wales can be seen at First Avenue House, other places may not have the fll set of indexes available. Details of the Probate Registry and obtaining copies of documents can now be found under the Court Service External Website logo website where you can find a Guide to obtaining probate records.

Probate Search Room
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
tel : 020 7947 7000

Searches and Copies of probate records can also be ordered by post from York, they are not available online at present. Apply by post giving the full name, address and date of death of the deceased, stating what you require and enclosing the fee, currently £5. They will search up to a 4 year period and supply a full copy of the probate grant and will (if any). Payment should be made by cheque payable to "H M Paymaster General".

Probate Searches and Copies Department
York Probate Sub-Registry
1st Floor
1 Castle Chambers
Clifford Street
YO1 9RG.
tel. 01904 666777

Probate Records (Wills and Administrations) Pre 1858

Yorkshire wills were proved in a complicated array of ecclesiastical probate courts, some covering very small areas and they can prove difficult to find. The two major courts covering England were those of York and Canterbury, the highest court who had overriding juresdiction when a testator had land or goods in several places. When a testator had goods in more than one diocese of the northern province (diocese of Chester, Carlisle, Durham and York), or in more than one jurisdiction within the northern province (eg. goods in both a peculiar of Dean and Chapter and in the jurisdiction of the archbishop) the Prerogative Court of York (PCY) had the right to grant probate.

If the testator had goods within both the northern and southern province then the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) had the right to grant probate. An excellent list of Indexes to Yorkshire Wills External Website logo has been compiled by Colin Blanchard-Withers and is available on GENUKI.

However probate for people living in Malhamdale would mainly have been proved by the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York. If you are looking for a particular will but are not sure it exists, the Borthwick's Simple Guide to Probate Jurisdiction External Website logo shows the extent of the Diocese of York and where to look for Yorkshire wills. You can write direct to the Borthwick Institute for Archives External Website logo as they hold the majority of Yorkshire wills and letters of administration. Some copies of probate documents they hold can be obtained via the Origins online service noted below. For other periods if you can quote the name, place, date of probate and, ideally, volume and folio number, you can use the copy order service, otherwise use the online enquiry form, which should contain details of the full name of the person, approximate date of death and where they lived. They will check their indexes and provide a quote for a copy of the will and any associated documents such as inventories. The cost is generally £5-10 per set of probate documents. They have also a postal enquiry service for more complex queries requiring research/ translation.

The Borthwick Institute is situated on the York University campus:


Borthwick Institute for Archives
University of York
YO10 5DD
Tel. 01904 321166 (appointments and archive enquiries)
email :

There is an online index available to some of the wills in the Borthwick Institute available on The Origins Network External Website logo website. They are indexing the wills from the Prerogative & Exchequer Courts of York starting from 1858 and working back to meet their already completed York Medieval Probate Index 1267-1500. They also have the York Peculiars Probate Index covering 1383-1883.
A subscription is necessary, but this can be for as little as 72 hours, which is quite economical.     Go to the Origins Network

Death Duty Registers

This collection of records is also available in the National Archives Documents Online section and focuses on the wills and letters of administration proved in the “country courts”, in this case at York. All the wills connected with Malhamdale that have been identified are listed below and the actual will extracts (these are brief extracts of the main provisions of the will) are available from the National Archives Documents Online External Website logo website. This index can be searched online for free and has downloadable PDF copies of all Death Register abstracts costing £3.50 each.

Wills from the Death Duty Registers 1796 - 1811 - all proved in the Court of York

Name Description Date Reference
John Shackleton Yeoman of West Malham 28 October 1811 IR 26/435
William Brayshay Gentleman of Malham 06 January 1809 IR 26/431
Samuel Preston Farmer of Hanlith 04 February 1811 IR 26/434
Thomas Preston Yeoman of Scosthrop 07 June 1809 IR 26/431
Joseph Petty Gentleman of Airton 07 July 1807 IR 26/428
Ellen Nelson of Calton 09 February 1803 IR 26/425
John Pearson Butcher of Coniston Cold 12 December 1809 IR 26/432
Jonathon Hitchon Farmer of Coniston Cold 05 June 1810 IR 26/433
Thomas Wilkinson Gentleman of Winterburn 26 May 1807 IR 26/428
John Parkinson Gentleman of Winterburn 10 March 1810 IR 26/433

Malhamdale PCC wills

Aside from a few transcripts on this website, few local wills are available on the internet, the most readily accessible ones are those proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) which appear during the Commonwealth Period 1649-1660 and for those who held property in both the jurisdictions of York and Canterbury where the latter proved the will. All the local wills I have been able to identify in the National Archives catalogue are listed below and the actual wills are available from the National Archives DocumentsOnline External Website logo website. Their index can be searched online for free and has downloadable PDF copies of all the PCC will abstracts costing £3.50 each.

A list of PCC wills for people associated with Malhamdale.

Name Description Date Reference
James Spencer Yeoman of Airton in Craven 18 February 1654 PROB 11/239
George Preston Yeoman of Airton 14 August 1655 PROB 11/244
Elizabeth Tatham Spinster of Calton 20 June 1659 PROB 11/294
Richard Hartley of Calton 22 February 1816 PROB 11/1577
Rev. Sir Richard Rycroft Doctor in Divinity of Calton 15 July 1786 PROB 11/1144
William Fish Husbandman of Hanlith 05 January 1657 PROB 11/261
William Serjeantson of Wakefield, Yorkshire 15 June 1782 PROB 11/1092
Elizabeth Serjeantson Wife, of Camp Hill, Yorkshire 26 March 1831 PROB 11/1783
Rev. James Serjeantson Clerk of Kirby Knowle, Yorkshire 15 November 1845 PROB 11/2027
William Preston Husbandman of Kirkby Malhamdale 01 July 1653 PROB 11/226
Anthony Foster Kirkby Malhamdale 20 June 1655 PROB 11/243
Robert Hurtley Kirkby Malhamdale 01 September 1657 PROB 11/267
Robert Hurtley Yeoman of Kirkby Malhamdale 01 September 1657 PROB 11/267
Richard Lawson Husbandman of Malham 16 August 1656 PROB 11/257
Robert Lawson Yeoman of Malham 17 July 1656 PROB 11/257
William Airton Taylor of Kirkby in Malham Dale in Craven 31 March 1656 PROB 11/253
Richard Preston Husbandman of Malham 03 May 1653 PROB 11/226
William Layland Husbandman of Malham 14 September 1657 PROB 11/267
William Atkinson of Kirkby Malham 24 December 1849 PROB 11/2103
William Brashey Rough Mason of Scosthrop 23 September 1653 PROB 11/226
John Wilkinson Yeoman of Bordley, Yorkshire 08 May 1656 PROB 11/255
Christopher Wilkinson Yeoman of Parkhouse Bordley in Craven 08 July 1658 PROB 11/277
Robert Tatham Yeoman of Eshton 10 May 1651 PROB 11/216
Thomas Johnson Eshton 12 mar 1835 PROB 11/1844

Malhamdale York wills (1389-1688)

The Yorkshire Archaeological Society have published over a dozen volumes of indexes to Yorkshire wills in their Record Series :Wills in the York Registry. These cover the three hundred year period from around 1380-1680 and an index of entries which has been extracted from these can be found here.



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